Waterless Lithography under the Mountain

Inking up

Inking up

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The profile of Mount Kembla features regularly in some of my landscape drawings. Last weekend I saw it from a different perspective, up close and reversed. Liz Jeneid’s eclectic studio where we had a hands-on workshop on waterless lithography, is nestled comfortably into the mountain.

IMG_3979Julie Krone, whose work I had seen in an exhibition at Wollongong Gallery some years ago had stuck with me and when I saw she was running the class, I thought it would be interesting to see how she works and the technique. She was fresh from an Argentinian Ace Residency and keen to pass on the intricacies learned from her investigations and experience with other artists.

IMG_3981Unlike stone based lithography, this method uses everything from silicon, acetone, brake fluid, photo-sensitive plates to print press.  Julie was generous with sharing her knowledge and excited by new marks made in different ways. It was learning experience for us all.

After completing our drawings and eventually a range of prints, it was obvious that although it was a technical process, individual sensitivities came through from the particpants.

Julie rocking the image in developer

Julie rocking the image in developer

For myself, I had made two plates, one more successful than the other, but it was the investigation of mark-making through both drawing and printing on transparent papers that has led me to go back to Rauschenberg for some more inspiration. Starting on a large drawing on Monday, I’m keen to scratch, transfer and rub, a little like Liz’s chooks and horses roaming the hillside. A fabulous shared lunch debating the value of arts education, topped off a wonderfully indulgent weekend.

 

Taking off the silicon

Taking off the silicon

The siliconed plate ready for ink

The siliconed plate ready for ink

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The Logistics of Bigness

23032010 001I have been in a state of continual poor, poor, pitiful me. No studio. No room. No paint.  Over the past few weeks I have been trying to organise my artself- what’s sold, what’s stored, what’s donated, given away, torn up and lost. It feels never-ending. I’m up to entry 72 and it is one huge drawing – 1.5 m x 2.950 m.  I loved doing this drawing – the setting up. I had a studio then, but it still meant getting an old door across a trestle, rolling out the paper to the length of the door surface. I can’t remember when I last saw it – it must be rolled up in the garage somewhere. It was part of the Roadside Series and looking back one I feel I can come back to.  Each time I drive I see something that could be translated by a piece of dusky charcoal and a fence-painting brush full of gouache.

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Reading sculptor Anne Truitt’s Daybook has resonated with me over the last week. She found herself in the same pitiful spiral of no room. A sculptor must feel this restriction of space so much more, however she decided rather than cry over space deprivation she would use what space she had- the kitchen table- to draw.  I think this is an admiral decision, and good advice to follow – I’ve been doing small kitchen-appropriate drawings and paintings but really they don’t cut the mustard for me.

Here’s a look at a few shots – process and finished works.

Studio Roadside

Plein-air & Plain Good

Tom Carment

Tom Carment

Tom Carment has taken out this years Parliament House Plein Air Painting Prize.  About time, I say.  He is just simply a good painter.  His work gets wall space in my studio and that is my measure of paint-worthiness.

 

 

 

Here is my blog from four years ago.

“A Random Sparkle”

Each time I visit the SH Ervin gallery, I seem to be drawn to the work of Tom Carment -I bought I wonderful book CH2.  Carla promptly told me I had bought her the same one. I had also bought a card of his work that was pinned on the wall in the Thirroul Studio. This afternoon I opened Artist Profile art mag for a well deserved read time only to find Tom Carment once again. Is it his plein-air-i-ness? The essence of subject? Maybe it’s what he describes as “the random sparkle.”

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Im-pressed

Michael in the studio

Michael in the studio

My friend Michael invited me to see his new baby, it was shiny, new and rolled like a dream.  Instead of that overriding smell of oil in his studio, a faint waft of fine etching ink.  Paintbrushes gave way to rollers and the floor tiled with sepia clad editions.  Printing to me feels like pulling wild hair into a ponytail.  That wild unkempt expressionist feelings are still there but they are under temporary control. The steps to prepare, dampen paper, ink the plate and roll, tie the wild into place but the output at the end, when the hair tie is released, produces the same expressionist marks, the abandon usually felt in the paint marks transferred to a print.

Drawing on the copper plate

Drawing on the copper plate

Michael has been prolific, monotypes, drypoints and a beautiful hand coloured book.  The new press has provided a tool for more drawing. We gave it a whirl and Michael did a monotype and I did a smudgy mess. Here’s a selection of his work. You can check out more of his work here.

The finished plate

The finished plate

Ready to roll

Out the other side

Out the other side

All important floor inspection

All important floor inspection

One of the Kosciusko series

One of the Kosciusko series

Another from that series, one of my favourites.

Another from that series, one of my favourites.

Beautiful hand coloured etchings made into a book.

Beautiful hand coloured etchings made into a book.

The Artist’s Chair

Reverse Graffiti Chairs NewcastleMost artists who have a studio have a studio chair. This all important item compares to a brush.  Most artists need time to mull over what comes next. The painting gets to the stage where it’s close to breaking through and that sit and look time can be just what it needs to get to the next level.  I haven’t had a lot of different studios so I haven’t exactly been Goldilocks and tried them all.

Arthurs StudioThe closest to best was the chair in the studio at Bundanon. An old cane chair with a slouchy cushion, just right. I think it may have even featured in a couple of Arthur Boyd drawings or paintings.

The pink chair looked something like this....

The pink chair looked something like this….

 

 

Another of my faves was an old salmony pink chair. A sad case that was passed endlessly through the ex’s family who had no room for it and never quite fitted in with their decor. Funnily enough they wanted it back when we parted ways. Maybe they re-painted.

Thirroul studio

Thirroul studio

The Thirroul studio had the good old waiting room chair circa 80’s wrapped in vinyl and made a good double as an easel when not being sat upon and it could easily be wiped over.  Not being too comfy meant I spent more time off my butt.

My current chair is a bridge chair. It has a swing back and is good for procrastinating, leaning back and staring at the ceiling (and the top of the bookshelf) for inspiration.

 

 

I think the king of all studio chairs would have to be Willem De Kooning’s.  This photo from Architectural Digest shows that there were two, one for Elaine too. It appears to be a rocker and would be perfect with a rug for winter, drifting off  and dreaming of pink fleshy glazes and how the painting might end.

 

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“For his installation for the German representation at the French Pavilion, Ai Weiwei has assembled 886 three-legged wooden stools. In today’s China, the three-legged stool is an antique. Manufactured by a uniform method, it was in use throughout China and in all sectors of society for centuries.”

“For his installation for the German representation at the French Pavilion, Ai Weiwei has assembled 886 three-legged wooden stools. In today’s China, the three-legged stool is an antique. Manufactured by a uniform method, it was in use throughout China and in all sectors of society for centuries.”

 

The Burning Bush

David Hawkes: Study for a Beautiful Day 2

David Hawkes: Study for a Beautiful Day 2

Wedderburn is a small place, just out of Campbelltown west of Sydney.  You would expect with the concentration of most of Australia’s best abstract artists that it would be a remarkable place.  It’s not, it’s the bush and a gully and like most of the Australian landscape, scrappy gums,scrubby undergrowth and patchy pinkish rock.  Beautiful but not exceptional.  It’s the translation to art that makes it remarkable.E Cummings Crossing the Gully

"I could spend the rest of my life just painting this bit of bush." Elisabeth Cummings Wedderburn

“I could spend the rest of my life just painting this bit of bush.” Elisabeth Cummings Wedderburn

E Cummings Journey through the Studio 2004Elisabeth Cummings is the humble queen of the Wedderburn bush and her current exhibition at King Street Gallery is testament to her rights to that crown.  Regular readers of my blog will know already of the influence of her work on mine.  This exhibition has some truly notable pieces, especially Crossing the Gully and Small Billabong.

Looking at her work I am inspired to get back painting in oil and at the same time insecure in that I feel I would never be able to produce anything so exquisitely complete and complex.

Outside Watters

Watters Gallery SydneyJust down the road in Watters Gallery, David Hawkes also paints the Wedderburn Bush. Like Cummings, Hawkes takes the essence of that landscape and pours a rhythm of the bush into his work in slathers of paint. His 49 studies for a beautiful day seems to indicate every day is a beautiful day in Wedderburn.

A beautiful day in Sydney too.

Sydney Harbour Ferry stop

The Wingman

Lawrence Hargrave sculpture that sits overlooking Wollongong from the escarpment

Lawrence Hargrave sculpture that sits overlooking Wollongong from the escarpment

Bert Flugelman had a beautiful studio amongst lyrebirds in the rainforest. It was sad news today to hear of this wonderful Australian sculptor’s passing yesterday at the age of 90.  He has left us beautiful works that are part of the Australian landscape.

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Cones at National Gallery of Australia Sculpture Garden

One of my favourites is the work in the sculpture garden of the National Gallery in Canberra that is so familiar. The Australian bush is highly reflected in these wonderful stainless steel forms and people and birds are engaged by their distorted reflections.

Flugelman with Wingman by Guy Warren UOW Collection

Flugelman with Wingman by Guy Warren UOW Collection

His friend Guy Warren had won the Archibald  Prize in 1985 with a portrait “Flugelman with Wingman” and the work hangs in the library foyer at the University of Wollongong, commanding and inspiring.

Guy and Bert shared the wonderful commonality of Jamberoo, the little lush town where I had been only a few days ago with my artist friend.  The majority of his work so solidly metal and constructed had its roots in the organic and the love of the bush.

Tetrapus from Bondi Sculpture by the Sea

Tetrapus from Bondi Sculpture by the Sea

We All Like Robert Juniper…

Ferns & Flowers 1968 Robert JuniperI stumbled on the news that Australian artist Robert Juniper had died just before Christmas on the 21st December 2012. Being a Western Australian artist we unfortunately didn’t get to see much of his work over this side of the island.

I was saddened and wanted to share my admiration of his work. I had blogged about him previously in “No, He’s Not the Black Wiggle.”

Robert Juniper Desert Edge 1961I copied this work from Australian Painting Today an old and treasured book and it taught me a lot in early painting days about colour. My teacher had commented, “Robert Juniper, we all love Robert Juniper at some stage…”

J.R. Walker, The Elusive Platypus

Paint does the thinking. If you’re lucky something completely unexpected comes out. The making is the thinking….” *

Monotremes are rare – both of them found in Australia. The platypus frequents still parts in rivers. There is a little spot in Braidwood where we go and the platypus makes an appearance.  The old log where we sat and sketched had rotted since we were last there but as we approached the platypus took a dive and we caught a fleeting glimpse. It was midday, windy and noisy everything it shouldn’t be to spot platypus (or is platypussi?).

J.R Walker is a legendary Braidwood resident artist. As we came out of the bottleshop (a known haunt for artists – a bit like still rivers) J.R. was spotted on his bicycle and before we could gather our thoughts he was off. Peddling feverishly he ducked and dove out of sight. His saddle bags we could only guess were full of oily tubes of paint and inspiration and maybe merlot -it was on special.

This was a self-indulgent blog to show J.R. Walkers paintings. Something I have done before, here in Shaking Off The Sand & here  in Artist or Serial Killer. He, like the platypus is elusive and wonderful. A strange creature of talent and mystery and spotted from time to time in Braidwood.

*quote in article by Steve Lopes for Artist Profile 2009.

Little Birds & Empty Sheds

After pulling apart paintings, arranging couriers for the big stuff, the shed is empty.

In a basket left over from my last studio were remnants of bird stuff. Some old drawings, bits of books, a few feathers, what I term – collage stuff.


I had found this tiny leather-bound sketchbook in Salvos. I have decided to make another bird book.

I have been a tad introspective lately about working big again. I just can’t do it yet I’m waiting for that opportunity that keeps seeming to elude me. Meanwhile I’m back to small birds in tiny books.